Thursday, April 26, 2018
Sports

Familiarity breeds competition for Osceola, Seminole

Osceola and Seminole high schools do not belong in the same football classification. They do not compete in the same district.

So what exactly is at stake when Osceola hosts tonight's season opener between the neighboring programs?

To the players and fans from both schools, everything.

"From a player perspective, if we lose every game but beat Osceola we'd be happy," Seminole tight end Matthew Wonsick said.

Often, the teams are afterthoughts in the Pinellas County football landscape. In the past decade, they have combined for just five winning seasons and three playoff appearances. Because of that, their rivalry doesn't get the notoriety of other grudge matches such as Clearwater Central Catholic vs. St. Petersburg Catholic or East Lake vs. Tarpon Springs.

But make no mistake, the annual Osceola-Seminole game is the most intense three hours of the sports calendar for both team. It's the hot ember of a feud that burns all year.

The intensity is due in large part to proximity. The players grew up together, went to elementary and middle school together, and played on the same youth league teams.

"Everyone knows everyone," Osceola linebacker Chad Brittain said.

Still, that doesn't mean there is a lot of civility.

"There's a lot of drama between the schools off the field that translates to a lot of talking on the field," Seminole running back Travis Wateska said. "Osceola's known to Seminole as more of a 'snobby' or 'preppy' school."

There was no greater drama than last season when Osceola players and students pulled off a massive prank that took days to plan.

Quadarius Patterson, a running back who graduated from Osceola in June, took part in the shenanigans. He and about nine others waited until 3 a.m. the night before the game to sneak into Seminole's stadium and stick 5,000 plastic forks on the field. They also covered the visitors' stands with blue and orange tissue paper and balloons.

"Yeah, we forked that field," Patterson said.

This was how Seminole coach Chris Miller was introduced to the rivalry. Miller played and coached at Admiral Farragut before taking over the Warhawks last year.

"My first game as coach was against Osceola and we come out that morning to a gazillion forks in our field," Miller said. "I got to know quickly how big the rivalry is. But it's not really mean-spirited. The teams are familiar with each other and want to win, but there's a mutual respect. It's healthy."

To add insult to injury, Osceola then went out and rallied from an early deficit to beat Seminole 23-15, marking the Warriors' third straight win in the series.

In the spring, Patterson and Co. pulled off the same prank again — this time sticking forks in the baseball field.

"We actually got caught jumping the fence on that one and had to come back later in the night," Patterson said.

So what kind of hijinks does Seminole have in store this week?

"Nothing," Wonsick said. "We don't really care about the prank. It's the way we lost last year that killed us. Our retaliation will be on the field this year. No need for petty games."

This game has special meaning for Osceola with George Palmer entering his 25th season as coach of the program. And despite a so-called truce, the Warriors were ready if anyone tried anything during the week leading up to game day.

"We'll be ready," Brittain said. "We may have to stand guard to protect the field."

Contact Bob Putnam at [email protected] Follow @BobbyHomeTeam.

Comments
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: John Clayton breaks down the NFL draft

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: John Clayton breaks down the NFL draft

It's NFL draft day. John Clayton joins Rick Stroud to talk about how many quarterbacks will go early and who the Bucs will take with the seventh overall pick, considering their obvious needs on defense.Plus, the Lightning will face the Boston Br...
Updated: 4 minutes ago
A look at the Lightning-Bruins series

A look at the Lightning-Bruins series

So it is the Bruins.The big, bad Bruins.The Bruins come to town Saturday for the start of the Eastern Conference semifinals with the Lightning, a best-of-seven series that begins with a 3 p.m. puck drop.It is the second-round series nearly everyone p...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Is former Florida Gators lineman Taven Bryan a first-round NFL draft pick?

Is former Florida Gators lineman Taven Bryan a first-round NFL draft pick?

Aside from former Florida State safety Derwin James, the most likely first-round pick from a state college is ex-Florida defensive lineman Taven Bryan.He hopes, at least."That would (stink) if I didn't," Bryan said last month at Florida's pro da...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

TAMPA ó As the Tampa Bay Lightning wait for its next playoff opponent to come to town, the cityís business community ó large and small ó say theyíve already won this NHL postseason.At WestShore Plaza this week, with blue and white banners surrounding...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Iron Nun still going strong at age 88

The Iron Nun still going strong at age 88

TAMPA —These smart phones and computers and internet are big annoyances to Sister Madonna Buder.Every time she turns around, there's a message or a request or a question coming into one of her devices from somewhere in the world."What's all the...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Donít call it a comeback: Jonny Venters return to majors with Rays much more than that

Donít call it a comeback: Jonny Venters return to majors with Rays much more than that

BALTIMORE — First, think of what you were doing on Oct. 5, 2012, and how much has happened in your own world since then.That will give you a time frame.Next, think of the challenge of rehabbing from two Tommy John surgeries and a third procedur...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays Journal: An 8-4 win over ex-mate Cobb in a record way, Venters context, Duffy update

Rays Journal: An 8-4 win over ex-mate Cobb in a record way, Venters context, Duffy update

BALTIMORE – The Rays knew there would be mixed feelings for all parties with longtime former teammate Alex Cobb pitching against them in Orioles orange.Then they made sure he didn't enjoy it.The Rays knocked Cobb out in a messy fifth Wednesday,...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning to face Bruins in East semifinals

Lightning to face Bruins in East semifinals

The Bruins beat the Maple Leafs 7-4 in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series Wednesday night and will face the Lightning in the Eastern Conference semifinals beginning Saturday at Amalie Arena. Here is the semifinal schedule: Saturday: at Tamp...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs draft scenarios: Would this guy be their lucky pick at No. 7?

Bucs draft scenarios: Would this guy be their lucky pick at No. 7?

TAMPA – This is the Rubiks Cube of NFL drafts. It can be twisted and turned it in any direction. Not many know how everything will line up.For the Bucs, the puzzle is simple.  Since they have the No. 7 overall pick, they need four quarterb...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Mock draft consensus: Who the experts have Bucs taking at No. 7

Mock draft consensus: Who the experts have Bucs taking at No. 7

We've linked to a lot of mock drafts over the last four months.We went back and assembled mocks from 40 different NFL writers we've linked to — this isn't the most recent for some of these who are in Mock 9.0 mode, but it's meant as an unscient...
Updated: 3 hours ago